Japan – Shirakawago

10/05/16

I woke up super early and got to Kanazawa station at 9.15am to get a bus ticket for Shirakawago. I had found a timetable online through the nohi bus site and knew that there was a bus at 9.40am. They do say you have to book in advance but I chanced it and bought it just before and half the bus was empty! It cost 1850Y one way.

The journey was smooth with some nice scenery and lots of tunnels, and took just over an hour. I arrived around 11am.

On first view I was so excited to be at Shirakawago, it’s one of the few places in Japan where they have original architecture from 400 years ago. It’s been preserved due to tourism which could be seen as a good or bad thing… I read that the dam had removed many villages here which is why there are only 3 left. They are basically old farming villages, but the housing structure is what makes it unique. The houses had really thick straw roofs and are entirely made by wood and string!

To get to our traditional farmhouse, Gassho-zukuri, which is in the Ogimachi village, we had to cross over the bridge and head north. We could only drop off our bags, but it meant we could explore the area. First up I went to the view point, which was a bit of an uphill walk but worth it. It really looks like a film set, hobbit style and I really love it. I think it would be even better in winter when there’s 2-4m of snow.

To get down from the view point I walked down the steps which led me to a different area at the bottom. From there I found a restaurant for lunch which was a beef rice bowl and was delicious. I also went into the Kanda-ke house which shows how the inside of the Gassho-zukuri was back in the day. There wasn’t too much inside exhibition wise but I was able to climb up to the top and appreciate the whole structure. It was really smokey though as they had the indoor stove going.

Back at Kanja, my farmhouse, I was finally able to check in. The room is quaint, and I was greeted with some tea and ginger biscuits. The walls are just closed screens so you can hear everything.

Before dinner at 6pm, I took a walk out into the forest area where I was almost chased by a wild boar and feared for my life! I was preparing my umbrella for action…

Dinner was the best thing ever. Words cannot describe the deliciousness that was my dinner, the beef was the highlight, the fish was just fantastic and every veg and tempura was just a bonus. It was a delight and made my stay much more enjoyable. Can’t wait for breakfast!

I had a quick evening walk but it was raining a lot and getting really dark so I didn’t stay too long.

 

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